Oxygen Scavengers In Food Packages



In the food industry, oxygen is one of the most important factors for food products. Its presence in food packages may cause several problems such as rancidity, nutritional loss, and microbial spoilage. Oxygen is not only a problem during production but also during storage inside the package.


Different applications, such as Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) and vacuum packaging, were developed to eliminate this problem. However, MAP or vacuum packaging can decrease the residual oxygen level in the package only up to 0.5-2 vol% [1,2]. This amount of oxygen can affect the food product negatively. As a result, oxygen scavengers have great importance in extending the shelf life by reducing the oxygen level to less than 0.1 vol%. [3].


Oxygen scavengers are one of the most widely used active packaging technologies. The use of OSs was implemented through self‐adhesive labels, other adhesive devices, loose sachets to be included in the packaging with the food, or the utilization of active elements in the monolayer or multilayer packaging material for bottles and jars [4,5,6]. OSs can be found in the packages of cooked meat products, grated cheese, bakery products, fruit and vegetable juices, seeds, nuts, and oils, fat-containing instant powders, fried snacks, dried meat products [2,7].


Various oxygen scavenger types are in use in the food industry. OS-systems include iron, other metals (e.g., cobalt, palladium, and platinum), organic acids (e.g., ascorbic and gallic acids), photosensitive dyes (e.g., eosin and curcumin), unsaturated hydrocarbon dienes, enzymes, and bacterial spores or yeasts [2]. They have distinct mechanisms of function that depend on the active compound used.







  1. Gibis, D., & Rieblinger, K. (2011). Oxygen scavenging films for food application. Procedia Food Science, 1, 229–234.
  2. Yildirim, S.,  Röcker, B.,  Pettersen, M. K.,  Nilsen‐Nygaard, J., Ayhan, Z., Rutkaite, R., Radusin, T.,  Suminska, P.,  Marcos, B., &  Coma, V. (2018). Active Packaging Applications for Food. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 17 (1), 165-199.
  3. Mills, A., Doyle, G., Peiro, A. M., & Durrant, J. (2006). Demonstration of a novel, flexible, photocatalytic oxygen-scavenging polymer film. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry, 177 (2–3), 328-331.
  4. Dainelli, D., Gontard, N., Spyropoulos, D., Zondervan‐VAN DEN Beuken, E., & Tobback, P. (2008). Active and intelligent food packaging: Legal aspects and safety concerns. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 19 (1), 103–112.
  5. Shimizu‐Yumoto, H., & Ichimura, K. (2016). Effect of storage in packaging with oxygen absorbers on the quality of cut gladiolus “Princess Summer Yellow” spikes. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 111, 191–196.
  6. Bikiaris, D. N., & Triantafyllidis, K. S. (2013). HDPE/Cu‐nanofiber nanocomposites with enhanced antibacterial and oxygen barrier properties appropriate for food packaging applications. Materials Letters, 93, 1–4.
  7. Dey, A., & Neogi, S. (2019). Oxygen scavengers for food packaging applications: A review. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 90, 26-34.